Voice for Real Estate 81: Stock Swings, RESPA, Water, Budget

Voice for Real Estate 81: Stock Swings, RESPA, Water, Budget


Home sales stay on track despite stock swings A big win for marketing service agreements And NAR meets with the nation’s financial
services watchdog These stories and more on The Voice for Real
Estate Hi, I’m Stephen Gasque of the National Association
of Realtors. A big scare in the stock market last week….with
wild swings down – and up! But NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says
the country’s economic fundamentals remain strong and home sales should stay on a healthy
course this year. [QUOTE] Last year sales were the best in 11 years. They reached 5.51 million units and prices
were up by about 6 percent. But prices this year are expected to increase
only about 1 percent. That’s partly because of tax reform, which
imposed caps on state and local tax deductions and the mortgage interest deduction. [SWOOSH] [ALTERNATIVE] Sales of existing homes last year reached
5.51 million units—the highest in 11 years. Prices were up, too, by almost 6 percent. That’s the sixth year in a row home prices
have increased by more than 5 percent. A different story this year, though. Home prices are expected to rise only 1 or
2 percent—a big drop that NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says comes in part from limits
placed on the deducibility of state and local taxes and the mortgage interest deduction
in tax reform. [QUOTE] One market segment that’s expected to see
continued strong price growth is entry-level housing, which is struggling with a shortage
of inventory. [SWOOSH] An important win for agents and brokers who
enter into marketing service agreements. The U.S. Court of Appeals in DC has affirmed
an earlier ruling that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was wrong – in how it enforced
anti-kickback rules under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, or RESPA. The CFPB imposed a massive fine—$109 million—against
a mortgage company that was referring business to mortgage insurers – that were also customers
of the company’s affiliated mortgage reinsurance businesses. But the court says that punishment was wrong. In fact, the mortgage company had been following
the rules! It structured its arrangement years ago, as
interpreted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, when it was the agency
that enforced RESPA. Under HUD’s interpretation, you can send
referrals to companies under marketing agreements – as long as the companies pay fees for services
that are at fair market value. And the court said that was the correct interpretation. NAR’s Christie DeSanctis has more. [QUOTE] The decision is important because marketing service
agreements like the one in the recent case – are quite common, in markets across the
country. [SWOOSH] Efforts to block a rule left over from the
Obama administration—that would expand the federal government’s oversight of bodies
of water under the Clean Water Act—have been dealt a setback. And while that’s not good for real estate,
the EPA is working on a new regulatory effort that could find a balance that works for the
environment and real estate. NAR’s Russell Riggs has more. [QUOTE] The
issue is complicated but it vital to real estate. You can learn more about it at nar.realtor
by searching “WOTUS,” which stands for “waters of the United States.” [SWOOSH] Are you interested in expanding your real
estate business? Or do you know business owners who would like
to grow their operations? The Small Business Administration has reduced
the equity requirement for business owners who want to borrow money under the agency’s
popular 7(a) loan program. NAR’s Erin Stackley has more. [QUOTE] Stackley talked about the eased requirements
in a regulatory update by NAR Government Affairs. The video also talks about the USDA’s review
of what is and isn’t a rural area. How it decides could impact households in
as many as 700 areas that would no longer qualify for safe and affordable rural home
loans—often the only mortgage loans available in some areas. [SWOOSH] A big win for agents and brokers in Washington. Here’s NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall
on the budget agreement enacted into law last week. [QUOTE] You can stay up to date on everything NAR
is doing in Washington at the public advocacy section of nar.realtor. [SWOOSH] And that’s our show for the week of February
12. You can get more on everything we talked about
today at The Voice for Real Estate page on nar.realtor. Thank you for joining us and be sure to join
us again as we bring you the latest news on The Voice for Real Estate.

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